A former B.C. Ferries navigating officer charged with criminal negligence causing death after a ferry sank off the northeast coast seven years ago pleaded not guilty in provincial court Wednesday.
Karl Lilgert is the first person in Canada to be criminally charged for a marine collision involving a passenger ferry. He pleaded not guilty and jury selection began for the trial, according to the office of his lawyer Glen Orris.
Two officers, Lilgert and quartermaster Karen Bricker, were on the bridge when the vessel veered off course on its run to Port Hardy from Prince Rupert and hit the northeast coast of Gil Island in Wright Sound
Fifty-seven passengers and 42 crew members abandoned ship before it sank. Two people - Shirley Rosette and Gerald Foisy - were never found and presumed dead.
Lilgert and Bricker - former lovers who were on their first shift together since their breakup - were fired by B.C. Ferries, along with second officer Kevin Hilton, who was taking a meal break at the time of the accident.
Orris had previously said his client intended to plead not guilty. He added that while Lilgert has never denied he's responsible, he doesn't believe he's ever been criminally negligent.
With files from Postmedia News
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